Conduct an empirical investigation into a business or management research question of your choice.
Write up your findings in no more than 2,500 words (excluding references and appendices).
What am I looking for in the report? (Or, how will I be assessed?)
1. I’m looking for a focused report.
This means you need to think carefully before you get started about what you can achieve in the
time available and 2,500 words. Ask yourself the question: is my chosen topic feasible within the
constraints of the report?
2. I’m looking for a report that applies statistical techniques covered in the module.
You may be familiar with more advanced techniques and feel they are more appropriate for the
analysis. You may well be right (show off!) However save this for your advanced quants modules in
term 2 and the rest of your future PhD. Of course, highlight any limitations on your analysis and
discuss directions for future research in your conclusion (see below).
3. I’m looking for a report that selects from among these techniques ones that are appropriate
for the type(s) of data being used and the hypotheses that are being tested.
A key component of the assessment is the appropriate selection of techniques based on what you’ve
learned in the module.
4. I’m looking for a report that’s clearly written and well structured
See advice on structure below.
The analysis should be motivated by a theoretical model or framework. The theory may relate to
your own PhD research (but, as mentioned above, I don’t want your actual PhD!) or could relate to
some of the examples we looked at in class.
If you’re really stuck for ideas, I’ve made a few suggestions to get you started (see ‘Suggested topics’
below). But don’t ask me for anymore! You will not be penalised if you choose one of these ideas
(see ‘What am I looking for?’ above)
You are responsible for collecting your own data. If you can’t find appropriate data for a topic then
you will have to change your topic to one for which you can obtain suitable data.
A useful place to look for data is the ESRC’s UK Data Service https://www.ukdataservice.ac.uk/ which
should be registered with by now.
However, it is perfectly permissible for you to use the data-sets we compiled and used in class.
Again, there’s no penalty for doing this.
The analysis should involve techniques covered in class. In particular your report should include a
descriptive analysis of the data as well as appropriate use of univariate, bivariate and multivariate
inferential techniques for testing your hypotheses (e.g., t
-tests and regression analysis)
1. Introduction – motivate the study and set out the basic research question(s)
2. Theory (‘Literature Review’) – provide a brief focused discussion of the theory underpinning
3. Data – discuss source(s) (providing links/references)
4. Descriptive analysis
5. Inferential analysis
Frame the research question(s) in terms of one or more statistical hypotheses
Explain the inferential techniques selected and why they are appropriate
Report the results of the analysis
6. Discussion and conclusion – Don’t just repeat your findings. Discuss limitations of the study
and directions for further research. If there are broader implications from your findings (e.g.,
policy related) then discuss these here.
Appendices – it’s permissible to use appendices especially if there’s a proliferation of tables and
charts relating to the descriptive analysis. These appendices (along with the references) won’t count
towards the 2,500 word limit. However use appendices wisely. Indiscriminate use of appendices
suggests a lack of thought about the content and structure of the report. Remember I’m looking for
a focussed and well written study.
Suggested topics (if you’re stuck)
1. An empirical analysis of the determinants of self-employment rates across countries
Data: World Development Indicators (class data-set: additional variables may be collected from
World Bank website if required)
2. Who gets the credit? An empirical investigation into the determinants of the availability of
credit to SMEs